Gloucester welcomes wheelchair tennis
The 2007 National Wheelchair Tennis Championships have taken place at the Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre in Gloucester.
Junior sensations Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley became Britain's youngest ever National Wheelchair Tennis Champions on Bank Holiday Monday when they won the Men's Main Draw Singles and Women's Singles finals respectively.
Meanwhile, in the day's other Main Draw Singles final, Liverpool's Jamie Burdekin won the Quad Singles, for players affected in three or more limbs, for the second time in four years.
Reid, 15, from Helensburgh, Scotland, went in to his first National Championships Main Draw Singles final against two-time former finalists Kevin Plowman having lost both his previous matches against the experienced Yorkshireman.
But Reid started much the better to earn a 4-1 lead with his precision shots, only to seed Plowman reduce the deficit to 4-3.
Nevertheless, after the players exchanged the next two games Reid held his next service game to take a one set lead.
The early exchanges in the second set were even, but then Reid found another gear to win four games in succession and opened up a 5-2 lead.
Despite then having his service broken by a resilient Plowman, Reid broke straight back to seal a famous 6-4, 6-3 triumph and leave Plowman as runner-up for the third time in his career.
On the other hand, Reid, who was among the top 10 nominees for the 2006 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award, has become National Champion in only his third National Championships, having only taken up the sport in February 2005.
"I am delighted to have played some good tennis this week and to be taking two National titles back to Scotland," said Reid afterwards.
"To be the youngest winner ever and to be Scotland's first Main Draw National champion ever is a great feeling.
"It's been a great four days and makes the long journey home a bit easier."
The strength in depth of Britain's current junior players was also evident in the Women's Singles final as 14-year-old second seed Whiley, from Halesowen, Warwickshire, took on Lancashire top seed Susan Paisley in what was a first National Championships singles final for both players.
The first set saw British No 2 Paisley play near-flawless tennis as Whiley struggled to find her form, and Paisley eased to a one set lead, dropping just the sixth game.
However, Whiley fought back to take a 5-2 second set lead and after a mini revival that saw Paisley reduce the arrears to 5-4, the Warwickshire teenager served out the set, converting the second of two set points.
As the final entered a deciding third set Paisley secured an early break to lead 3-1, but Whiley again came back to level the scores.
The parity lasted until Whiley broke again to lead 6-5 and the young British No 3 then held her nerve in her next service game as she claimed the first of three match points to secure another famous victory.
"The first set was just awful," said a delighted Whiley afterwards, "but I am pleased I was able to put that out of my mind and go into the second set believing it was a whole new match.
"The final set was nerve-wracking, but again I was able to keep myself together and now I'm just shocked to thing that I'm National Champion.
"I want to thank my coach Claire Williamson in Warwickshire, my parents, the British Tennis Foundation and my school, Earls High School in Halesowen, amongst many others, for all the support I've had, it's a very special day."
Wheelchair tennis is unique within disability sport in that players are categorised according to their tennis playing ability as opposed to being classified according to their functional, while the only difference between wheelchair tennis and able-bodied tennis is that wheelchair players are allowed two bounces of the ball.
The National Wheelchair Tennis Championships has been supported by The British Tennis Foundation as well as Gloucester City Council and Slazenger.
_____ NWTA Awards For 2006 _____
The annual National Wheelchair Tennis Association Awards for 2006 took place on Sunday evening in Gloucester. The awards were for Junior of the Year, Best Newcomer, Most Improved Female, Most Improved Male, Female Player of the Year, Male Player of the Year, and Dan Maskell Players' Player of the Year. The winners are as follows:
Junior of the Year
The Junior of the Year is someone who enjoyed a tremendous first full season on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour in 2006.
He began last season by finishing as runner-up in the Men's Second Draw Singles at the North East Tournament in Sunderland, and after winning his local Glasgow Tournament he went on to beat several higher ranked players to slice through the Men's Second Draw Singles at the British Open.
This victory earned him a place inside the world's top 100 in Men's Singles for the first time.
He also won the Boys Singles at the British Open and soon after collected two more prominent international Junior titles in the Netherlands and Poland.
He also made his Invacare World Team Cup debut for Great Britain in 2006, winning three of his four singles rubbers in the Junior event and narrowly losing out to the then World's No 1 junior in his other singles rubber.
He ended 2006 with a senior singles ranking of No 77 and Junior singles ranking of No 5. The winner is, of course, Gordon Reid
The Best Newcomer Award goes to someone who again had his first full season in the sport in 2006.
He showed great improvement throughout the year and played with great enthusiasm, both domestically and in NEC Tour events, securing his first world doubles ranking in 2006.
He also tried hard to secure his first world singles ranking, something he has now achieved, and he ended 2006 by reaching the Men’s Second Draw Singles semi-finals and the Men's Second Draw Doubles final at the Nottingham Indoors.
Most Improved Female
The Most Improved Female Player of the Year award goes to someone who had a tremendous 2006, having started the year in plaster.
Having produced a solid performance at her first tournament of the year in Sunderland, from the summer onwards she excelled, having worked hard in training, and made it through one round of the British Open in both singles and doubles.
She then won a brace of international junior singles and doubles titles in the Netherlands and Poland in August before going on to claim her first ever NEC Tour Women's Singles title in Cardiff in October, where she also won the Women’s Doubles.
She neared the end of her season by winning the Women's Consolation Singles at the Nottingham Indoors, subsequently breaking in to the world’s top 50 for the first time ever.
The winner is Jordanne Whiley.
Most Improved Male
The Most Improved Male Player of 2006 made great progress during the Year and produced some superb results, both on the domestic front and on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
In Singles he reached the Men's Second Draw Singles final and the Junior Singles final at the British Open, won his first ever Main Draw singles match at the Grenoble Open and then went on to claim his first ever Men's Main Draw Singles title on the NEC Tour when winning the Cardiff Tournament.
In his penultimate tournament of the year he also scored his first ever win over a world top 30 ranked player to win the Men's Main Draw Consolation Singles at the Nottingham Indoors.
Our Most Improved Male finished 2006 with what was then a career high ranking of No 65.
The winner is David Phillipson.
Female Player of the Year
Our Female Player of the Year reached a career high singles ranking of No 12 in 2006 after producing a consistently high level of performances, including winning the Prague Cup Czech Indoors and reaching the semi-finals of the PTR/ROHO Championships and Nottingham Indoors.
She also gained her first National Singles title in 2006, and also won NEC Tour doubles titles at the Czech Inoors and Tahoe Donner International, while also being runner-up in five other doubles events, including the Camozzi Doubles Masters.
The winner is Lucy Shuker.
Male Player of the Year
The Male Player of the Year had another outstanding season in 2006, winning seven of the nine NEC Tour events he played including all three Super Series Quad events at the Japan Open, British Open and US Open.
Towards the end of another magnificent year he also became the first British player to win a NEC Singles Masters title, when he won the Quad Singles title in Amsterdam.
After another dominant year he also finished 2006 as the World No 1 ranked Quad Singles player for the third time in four years.
The Male Player of the Year for 2006 is, of course, Peter Norfolk.
Dan Maskell Players' Player of the Year
Voted for by fellow NWTA members and presented to someone who has been a great ambassador for Wheelchair Tennis, both on and off the court, during 2006.
The Winner is Jordanne Whiley
last updated: 28/06/07